What happen if you never change differential fluid

Never change differential fluid: Of all the various things on a vehicle that need regular service and maintenance, the differential is all too often neglected. But what exactly is it and what does it do?

Visualize a rear wheel drive vehicle making a right turn. As the car turns to the right, the left rear wheel will have to cover a longer distance and turn at a different speed than the right wheel. If the rear axle was delivering equal torque to both wheels, the left rear wheel would lock up and skid when turning. The differential is designed to allow the wheels to spin at different speeds around corners, eliminating that problem.


The differential uses a thicker oil than motor oil, somewhere between an oil and a grease in terms of its weight. However, like any other assembly, the differential oil will become contaminated over time and begin to break down due to heat. Most differentials need a fluid change at 50,000 miles. If left on too long or if the fluid starts to run low, the differential will become noisy and may eventually fail. If that happens, the gears can seize, lock up the rear wheels and cause a lot of damage or even an accident.


Differentials have a fill hole, sometimes covered with a rubber plug that makes it easy to check the oil level. However, they do not have a drain plug, which means that the only way to change the oil is to remove the rear differential cover. This is inevitably a complicated job that is best left to professionals. Remember also that in 4×4 vehicles there is a second differential for the front wheels. For 4WD vehicles, it’s generally a good idea to service both differentials and the transfer case at the same time.


If you need any type of oil change service, whether it’s engine oil, transmission fluid flushing or differential service, you can count on us. Your car’s fluids are too important to neglect – make an appointment with us and make differential fluid service a part of your car’s regular preventative maintenance schedule.

Mechanical Insights: What is a Vehicle Differential?

Before we dive into differential fluid service, let’s discuss a common question we get from drivers: “What is a vehicle’s differential?” A car’s differential allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds. While you may think of all wheels turning together, this is an essential feature required for driving, especially when turning.

Why? Imagine making a sharp right turn at a street corner. The left wheel will have to travel a long distance for this spin to occur, while the right wheel will only move slightly. In order for your vehicle to move at a constant speed, your wheels must adapt to this difference in rotation.

What does differential fluid do?

Differential systems are based on a variety of moving parts, such as gears, bearings, and more. They keep your wheels moving just right through every twist, turn, and twisty road your vehicle encounters. This process generates a lot of heat and requires the proper flow of parts moving together. As such, differential systems require fluid to lubricate, cool, and protect these components.

Over time, this fluid depletes, becomes contaminated and ineffective, which is why your vehicle will require occasional differential fluid changes.

How does differential fluid replacement work?

During a differential fluid replacement, a professional auto service mechanic will remove old, contaminated fluid from your front or rear differential. By removing any contaminated liquid, they can ensure that your service lasts as long as possible. Then, they fill the differential with fresh, clean fluid.

Do I need a differential fluid flush?

On average, vehicles need new differential fluid every 40,000-60,000 miles. However, every car has different requirements, so it’s important to check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations for your vehicle. When all else fails, one of the most reliable ways to tell if you need a differential fluid flush is to check with your local service mechanic. Your driving patterns and the roads in your area can affect how often you need new differential fluid. As such, professional knowledge is key to getting the services you need.


Differential fluid replacement is not something you should ignore, but unfortunately, this is a common thing that most car owners tend to neglect.


However, to find out exactly how often to change your differential fluid, check with a Keystone Chevy near Tulsa, OK or contact your vehicle manufacturer.


We recommend all drivers of domestic and commercial vehicles to change the differential fluid after every regular time interval. These small maintenance can cause big damage if ignored.

How often do I need to replace the differential fluid?

Differential fluid typically lasts longer than most other fluids. Differential fluid life is variable, but one big difference between, say, oil and differential fluid, is that differential fluid usually doesn’t leak.


Differential fluid is typically changed after every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. This is hard work, so it should be handled by a skilled technician. Only an experienced mechanic can properly clean old dissimilar fluid from your vehicle’s drive train.

How often to change differential fluid

This is vitally important so that the bad fluid does not mix with the new fluid. We recommend visiting our service center to replace your vehicle’s differential fluid.


To find out exactly which Differential Fluids are suitable for your vehicles, you can opt for any of these solutions:


Contact the manufacturer of your vehicles

Visit the Keystone Chevy Service Center

Consult the service guide for your vehicle

What is differential fluid and why is it important?

Differential oil is present in the transmission of your vehicle. The answer to why differential fluid is important is that it acts for smooth control of the outside wheels of your car and helps maintain the proper distance between the outside and inside wheels.


This fluid also increases the stability of your vehicle during a ride, particularly in twists and turns.


You may have wondered, what exactly is a differential? If you’ve ever seen a large, square-shaped box between the rear axle of a pickup truck or cargo truck, you’ve seen exactly where differential fluid is located and what it is.


Externally, this fluid has the same appearance as motor oil.


The presence and timely change of your differential fluid provides the following benefits:


Better road grip

Your vehicle becomes more responsive

Rotations and turns are smoother.

Symptoms of Bad or Failing Differential/Gear Oil

Modern vehicles use a variety of fluids to lubricate their many mechanical components. Since many of the components are made of metal, they require a heavy-duty oil capable of protecting the components from damage due to overheating and metal-to-metal contact. Automotive lubricating fluids play a huge role in the overall performance and lifespan of a car and can cause severe component damage when depleted.

One of these types of fluids is differential oil, also commonly known as gear oil, which is used to lubricate manual transmissions and differentials. Since gear oil is basically the equivalent of what motor oil is for the engine, it plays a very important role in protecting the differential and transmission, allowing them to do their job safely and smoothly. When fluid becomes dirty or contaminated, it can put the components it is meant to protect at risk of accelerated wear and even permanent damage. Bad or faulty differential oil will typically produce any one of the following 4 symptoms that can alert the driver to a potential problem that needs to be fixed.

1. Vehicle exceeds gear oil service interval

All vehicles come with a mileage-based maintenance schedule for their fluids and filters. If the vehicle has exceeded the recommended mileage for gear or differential oil service, it is strongly recommended to change it. Old oil may not provide the same level of protection as clean, new oil. Vehicle components that run on old or dirty oil can end up susceptible to accelerated wear or even serious damage.

2. Whining differential or transmission

One of the most common symptoms associated with a bad or faulty differential or gear oil is a noisy transmission or differential. If the gear oil runs out or becomes too dirty, it canmake the gears whine or howl as they spin. Whining or howling is caused by a lack of lubrication and can increase in volume as vehicle speed increases. A howling or whining differential or transmission should be inspected as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of serious damage.

3. Transmission/gearbox gear slippage Jerking

Although a shaken transmission can be caused by a number of potentially costly problems, it can also be another sign of low gear oil levels. Differential or gear oil may need to be replaced after reaching levels too low for proper transmission operation. Check the transmission fluid levels to see if the reservoir is too low causing the gears to squeal and slip. If topping up the oil levels does not solve the problem, have yourtransmission system inspected – could be a sign of a more serious problem.

4. Burnt smell from gearbox or differential

A burning smell from your differential or gearbox is another sign that you need differential oil. The smell may be from an oil leak from an old seal; You may even notice a reddish stain under the parking spot of your car. The burning smell can also be the result of gearbox overheating due to poor lubrication. Oil that is too old cannot lubricate moving parts properly, causing metal components to burn oil due to high temperature. Replacing the differential oil may solve the problem, otherwise areplacement of gaskets or seals it can be necessary.

Differential/gear oil is just one of many important lubricating fluids used by vehicles in their normal operation. However, it is often one of the most overlooked fluids because it is not repaired as often as others. For this reason, if you suspect that your differential or gear oil may be dirty, contaminated, or beyond the recommended maintenance schedule, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician. They will be able toreplace your differential/gear oil if necessary.

We hope the article about “never change differential fluid” and the related information is helpful to you. If you have any questions, please let us one on our website Auto Oil And Fluid!




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